Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

An Exclusive Transcript Of Phil’s Haggadah From The TXR Passover Seder

Terrapin Nation Passover Seder 4/26/16

In what’s become an annual tradition over at Terrapin Crossroads, Phil led a Passover Seder, and then played a set; it is with regret I inform you that the band was not retitled “Phil and Mishpuchah;” nor was there a Hava Negila jam.

Phil did, however, play Hide the Afikomen (which is a completely different game than Hide the Salami) and led the Haggadah>Rider>Donor Rap.

As always, one of the Haight Street Irregulars comes through with a recording: it’s an AUD, but it’s a FOB Haggadah. If there’s a SBD around, a matrix would be nice; for now, I’ll just transcribe Phil’s words:

“My friends, my guests, my family, Baby Levon: shalom. We are all here tonight to observe Passover. Not celebrate, observe. Jews have a lot of holidays you don’t celebrate. This is one of ’em, I suppose. Just a lotta days where you gotta suffer a little bit.

“Anyway, we’re changing the whole thing up a bit and going with a real liberal-type Haggadah here: it’s not in Hebrew and there’s a bit about domestic violence and we all know it’s going to end with the Donor Rap, so if you’re serious about your Jewishness, you should be aware that this Seder might not count. God might not count it: we are freelancing.

“As we look at our plates, let us take notice of food’s symbolism. I mean, let’s be honest: this food isn’t particularly good for eating, so it better be symbolic as hell.

“There are bitter herbs, which represent the time the Jews spent in bondage in Egypt. I spent some time in bondage in Egypt, but I was free to go at any time. It was a voluntary bondage kind of thing. Not so much for the Jews. Pharaoh was harsh and made them build the pyramids, and also a couple of cubes, and one rectangular solid.

“Next is charoset, which is a word I am not pronouncing correctly. It’s nuts and apples and some other stuff chopped up and mixed together; the apples are organic and there is a vegan alternative available. Charoset is the mortar Jews used to build the Great Wall of China when they were enslaved there, also.

“Then, karpas. It’s literally just a piece of celery dipped in salt water. Salt water. You kidding me? Christians get a ham at Easter, you guys went with ‘celery dipped in sea water?’ Fascinating. Oh yeah: these are tears. Salty tears, Jewish tears. Your ancestors were miserable, and you must be reminded of the fact constantly.

“Okay, you got a…zorro? Zatanna? Zoomzoom? Something with a ‘Z.’ It’s the only meat on your plate, and it symbolizes a lamb that was sacrificed  at the First Temple. We had some great grass-fed, locally-sourced lamb shanks; long story short, Bobby’s sister-in-law released the shanks into the wild. So, we sent a busboy to the Buffalo Wild Wings down the street and got chicken wings. You’ll notice that they are the spiciest wings they sell: this is to remind us of the heat of Egypt.

“Beitzah. Beitzah? Baitzah. It’s an egg.

“We now take the first sip of wine, which is a 2012 Altamura available for purchase at the bar, and break the matzot. Most breads are broken metaphorically, but matzoh snaps like a cracker. Because it’s a cracker. I mean no disrespect; you know this; Phil Lesh loves the Jews. But calling matzoh “bread” is just false. It’s not even a lie: it’s simply incorrect. Matzoh lacks almost all bread-like qualities: it is not delicious; it does not look good sticking out of a grocery sack in the basket of a French woman’s bicycle; if you tried to toast it, you’d burn your house down. Not bread.

“And as we take our second sip of wine, I will reward the child who found the Afikomen with one drink ticket, good for well drinks only. I will also chastise the grown men who pushed the children aside trying to get the Afikomen. It’s bad enough you guys ride the rail when we play music for the kids in the backyard, but this was out of line.

“Our third sip of wine reminds us of the flight from Egypt. You had a bad flight from Egypt? Try doing it with the Grateful Dead. Billy hijacked a stewardess. They may have let Walton fly the plane for a bit. Road crew pried open the luggage hatch and went rummaging through bags, and then they started wearing people’s stuff: it got confrontational.

“The last of the wine brings us to the end of our service, and the Four Questions. In keeping with our progressive Seder, we have foregone the traditional Four Questions, and chosen new ones that were sent to us on Twitter.

“The first question is ‘Isn’t there another way to commemorate one’s heritage without symbolic food? Matzoh stops me right up.’ Good question. Something to think about.

“The second question is ‘Why did people stop breakdancing?’ Another good question; I don’t know.

“The third question is ‘Will TXR begin offering a larger dessert selection?’ Now that I can answer. We’re hiring a dessert chef, plus we’ve contracted with a local Girl Scout troop that’s going to sell cookies in the bar.

“The fourth question is ‘Have you caught the person who was pooping on the bocce courts?’ Vigilance is being maintained. Let’s say that. You know how Israel isn’t at war right now, but they’re not exactly relaxed? I’m like that. In this situation, I’m the Jews and you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to outlast that pooping sonuvabitch. You know who he is? He’s Pharaoh. He’s Arafat. He’s Hitler.

“Now, I know I promised not to bring up Hitler at the Seder again, but I think this year I’m justified.

“Pss pss pss.”

“I have been told to wrap it up. Happy Passover, everyone. The bar’s open.”


  1. did bill w go to the egypt shows?

  2. That reminds me of some guy that was at this year’s Seder and throughout the WHOLE ceremony, he constantly slathered butter on the the matzo, andCRUNCH, AND CRUNCHCRUNCHSLATHER, UGH, I wanted to shove that shank bone down his throat. Anyway Shalom Telekom John RedFeather.

  3. Has Phil Leshenstein put Manischewitz’s finest on the menu at Terrapin Crossroads? ……..A good friend of mine (from the Berkeley area) uses that as a curse word, is that normal?

  4. all this talk about spoor is making me ill. cats will be cats. get a rake

  5. Local Kroger Grocery store has Matzah ball themed beach balls.

    We are holding out till they go on clearance, then we shall join in the celebration.

  6. Phil then did an awesome Dark Star > Afikomen Jam> Wharf Rat and closed it out with a matzoh rap

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.